10 Positive Health Trends Around The World

Reposted – Positive Trends Around the World

Positive Trends
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories 

Confounding expectations, global hunger is down
4 November 2012 – Here’s some surprising good news: Despite sustained drought across some of the world’s bread baskets, despite the widespread impact of global warming and a destabilizing rise in global food prices — and despite continuing population growth — hunger has decreased over the past two decades. The number of the world’s people living with hunger has dropped by 132 million, or from nearly 19 per cent of the world’s population in the early 1990s to 12.5 per cent last year, a new report by the World Food Programme and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization finds. (more)

US study: Removing trays from dining halls cuts food waste
4 November 2012 – University students eating at one buffet-style dining hall produced less food waste when the facility removed the trays students had used to carry food, a new study has found. At the single facility, researchers estimated the switch away from using trays saved about 25 total pounds of solid food waste at each lunch and dinner meal. It may also have encouraged students to eat less — although the study team didn’t measure food consumption before and after the change. (more)

Canada: Commuter cycling up 25 per cent in Metro Vancouver – TransLink
3 November 2012 – Across Metro Vancouver, more residents are choosing to beat the traffic by biking. Bicycle commuting is up more than 25 per cent since 2008, according to a new survey by TransLink released during Bike to Work Week, which ends Friday. The transit authority found that commuters across the region were making a total of 106,500 bike trips a day — more than half of them to and from work, according to the latest data from fall 2011. (more)

US: Biking, hiking trails linked in Kentucky
3 November 2012 – Two trails are being connected in south-central Kentucky allowing bicyclists and hikers to travel the route of the old Mammoth Cave Railroad from Park City to the Mammoth Cave visitor centre. Mammoth Cave National Park says the Kentucky Transportation Department linked the trails by including a lane for bicycles and hikers in its reconstruction of the Interstate 65 underpass at Exit 48. The connection links the nine-mile Mammoth Cave Railroad Bike and Hike Trail and the one-mile Park City Bicycle and Walking Path. (more)

Europe’s in love with cycling
2 November 2012 – From London’s ‘cycle superhighways’ to popular bike-sharing programmes in Paris and Barcelona, growing numbers of European cities are embracing cycling as a safe, clean, healthy, inexpensive, and even trendy way to get around town. Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, and the Danish capital, Copenhagen, are the pioneers of this movement, and serve as role models for other cities considering cycling’s potential to reduce congestion and pollution, while contributing to public health. (more)

Breastfeeding best for Bangladesh
30 October 2012 – Bangladesh’s achievement in raising exclusive breastfeeding rates for infants under six months from 43 per cent to 64 per cent, over the last five years, is said to be the result of a determined campaign by government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). In 2010, Bangladesh enforced a directive for extending maternal leave to six months from the previous four for working women to allow them to exclusively breastfeed their newborn. (more)

Slimmer future for heavy kids who get help early – European studies
29 October 2012 – Weight-loss programmes can help even very young children slim down, and it appears that acting early may improve the odds of success, according to two European studies. In one study, which appeared in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, scientists in the Netherlands found that heavy three- to five-year-olds saw continued benefits from a weight-loss intervention at least several months after it ended. A report from Sweden showed that overweight and obese children under 10 were much more likely to have slower weight gain than were adolescents getting similar behavioural treatments. (more)

US study: Heart attacks drop from smoke-free workplace
29 October 2012 – Heart attacks dropped by one-third in one county in Minnesota after two smoke-free workplace ordinances went into place, a new study shows. The lead researcher on the work said that decline was likely due to less secondhand smoke exposure in restaurants and bars, as smoke can trigger heart problems due to its effects on arteries and blood clotting. Other studies have also suggested smoke-free workplace laws could impact heart attack rates. (more)

Plant compounds tied to less stomach cancer in women: European study
28 October 2012 – According to a European study, getting a moderate amount of plant substances called flavonoids through food may be linked to a lower stomach cancer risk in women. The researchers, writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that women with the highest intake of flavonoids were half as likely to develop stomach cancer as women who had the smallest intake. (more)

Women smokers who quit by 30 ‘evade earlier death risks’ – UK study
27 October 2012 – Women who give up smoking by the age of 30 will almost completely avoid the risks of dying early from tobacco-related diseases, according to a study of more than a million women in the UK. Lead researcher Prof Sir Richard Peto, from Oxford University stated, ‘Stopping works, amazingly well actually. Smoking kills, stopping works, and the earlier you stop the better.’ (more)

Peoria Unified School District Looks to Improve Employee Health

The Peoria Unified School District (PUSD) held a health and wellness fair for their employees a week ago on October 18, 2012.  Faced with rising health care premiums and wanting to keep as many resources in the classroom as possible, PUSD has increased its efforts to reach out to employees and improve their health.  The health fair was well attended and included:

  • The Kidney Trust – Performed over screenings for early kidney disease detection;
  • United Healthcare (UHC) provided diabetes screening (A1-C testing) through their DCPA program;
  • Delta Dental provided information on dental hygiene, maintenance and coverage;
  • VSP (Vision Service Plan) provided information on proper vision care and coverage;
  • Walgreens – Flu vaccines;
  • Abundant Health Chiropractic provided stress relief exercises and instruction on proper posture and alignment;
  • Cholesterol Checks;
  • Blood Pressure checks;
  • B-12 Shots;
  • Solis Women’s Health, provided informatin on breast cancer screenings;
  • The Dairy Council;
  • Mobile On-site Mammography Unit (MOM);
  • Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) helped plan and set up the event and was there to explain benefits.

PUSD employees benefit from free preventive care.  Identify early cases of kidney disease, colon cancer, diabetes, breast cancer, cholesterol issues, and related problems can save up to $150,000 per employee early detected, as well as saving their lives and the suffering of loved ones.  It is also a way to retain quality teachers and staff while reducing days missed for illness.  By keeping employees healthy and employing early detection, everyone wins.  The employees, the students, the district, and the taxpayers.

The screenings were very successful in identifying several unknown health conditions which will pay dividends both in saved funding, but more importantly, better health outcomes for those involved.

Congratulations to Peoria Unified School District (PUSD)!







Top Ten Smart Foods

Top Ten Smart Foods

Certain foods are especially good at protecting the brain, nerve cells and blood vessels from the damage of aging.

By Carlin Flora, published on February 12, 2004 – last reviewed on June 30, 2009

Crossword puzzles alone won’t save your brain and protect it from aging, though they will help. So will the right foods. Some edibles are especially good at protecting the brain’s delicate nerve cells and blood vessels from the damage that accompanies aging. Most of them squelch free radicals, the renegade oxygen molecules spun off as the brain goes about the business of the mind. Most of the foods that are smartest for the brain are also good for the heart because both rely on a steady oxygen supply. The risks for cardiovascular disease correlate with risks for cognitive decline.

  • BlueberriesSweet wild blueberries are bursting with antioxidants, which mop up nasty free radicals. Studies of rats show that a blueberry-rich diet improves memory and motor skills and reverses age-related declines in balance and coordination. Chemicals in blueberries affect the contractile machinery of arteries, and therefore have a good affect on blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure can damage delicate blood vessels in the brain and can lead to strokes.

  • Dark Leafy GreensChemicals called homocysteines are a normal part of protein metabolism, but high levels are linked with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease(as well as heart disease), which accounts for most cases of dementia in the U.S. According to Katherine Tucker, director of the dietary assessment research program at the Human Nutrition Research Center of Aging, “homocysteine has a toxic effect on arterial walls, and oxidation corrodes the arterial walls too, which makes them a bad combination.” In order to break themselves down, homocysteines require folate and B12 or B6, vitamins found in vegetables like collard greens and swiss chard.
  • Salmon, Sardines, and HerringFatty fish are full of neuroprotective omega-3 fatty acids. Higher levels of omega-3 in the blood go hand-in-hand with higher levels of serotonin, a mood-enhancing brain chemical. A study from the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging in Chicago found that people who eat at least one fish meal a week are significantly less likely to end up with Alzheimer’s disease than those who regularly eschew fish. Because a fish diet aids communication between nerve cells, studies have shown its positive effect on learning acquisition and memory performance.
  • SpinachResearch has finally caught up with mom’s advice: Spinach turns out to be full of antioxidant power. James Joseph, chief of the Neurosciences Laboratory of the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, finds spinach beneficial in slowing down age-related problems in the central nervous system and cognitive deficits. A salad with spinach has more than three times the amount of folate than one with iceberg lettuce.
  • Red Wine, or, better yet, Grape JuiceDrinking red wine in moderation increases longevity. But since alcohol slows down the brain’s ability to function properly, grape juice may be a smarter beverage choice. Research from James Joseph shows that concord grape juice significantly improves short-term memory and motor skills. It’s not just the heavy dose of antioxidants. Joseph believes that grape juice increases production of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Concord grape juice has the highest total antioxidant level of any fruit, vegetable or juice tested.
  • Whole Grains and Brown RiceOne of the best things you can do to improve intake of nutrients is to switch to brown rice. It’s filled with vitamins and magnesium, which seems to be important to cognitive health. Whole grains contain vitamin B6, which aids in reducing homocysteine levels. Americans often don’t get enough vitamin B6, because they mostly eat processed foods.
  • Hot CocoaWarm up with hot cocoa to help your brain as well as your frostbitten fingers. Chang Young Lee, professor of food chemistry at Cornell University, found that the antioxidant content of two tablespoons of pure cocoa powder is “almost two times stronger than red wine, two to three times stronger than green tea and four to five times stronger than that of black tea.” The antioxidants in hot cocoa protect brain cells from oxidativestress that can lead to Alzheimer’s and other disorders.
  • Nuts, Notably Almonds and WalnutsAdding to their party-mix appeal, nuts are rich in antioxidants and have been found to lower blood cholesterol levels. A Harvard study showed that women who ate more than five ounces of nuts per week had a significantly lower risk of coronary heart disease than those who ate an ounce or less. And, they don’t contribute to weight gain as much as other kinds of fatty foods. Walnuts are rich in omega-3s.
  • Olive OilA staple of the highly touted “Mediterranean Diet,” olive oil contains the potent antioxidants called polyphenols. Olive oil has been shown to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The extra-virgin variety is best.
  • GarlicThis pungent herb fends off aging via its antioxidant properties. It also contains strong antibacterial and antiviral compounds that help shake off stress-induced colds and infections. Raw, crushed garlic is best; cooked garlic is less powerful but still benefits the cardiovascular system.

    reposted from Psychology Today

Chandler Unified School District Holds Successful Health Fair

Chandler Unified School District (CUSD) has a long history of providing communication and wellness programs for their staff and students to improve their health and lifestyle choices.  Focusing on proper nutrition, regular exercise, screenings and regular preventive care has helped them post some of the lowest costs for health care among all Arizona school districts.

The CUSD Wellness Expo was held on October 16, 2012 and was a resounding success.  Cathy Giza, Director of Food & Nutrition for CUSD, along with her wellness team designed a well-organized even.  In conjunction with their membership in the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) they were able to provide representatives from many different employee benefit organizations, perform screenings and provide instruction on wellness.  The event was held in the cafeteria of one of the CUSD campuses to prevent extra costs.


The following are some of the services and presenters at the CUSD Wellness Expo:

Cathy Giza, Director of Food Services, CUSD The following services and presenters are a partial list of those available at the CUSD Wellness Expo:The 

  • Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) – Providing information on the Wellstyles Program and PREP Program (both currently utilized by Chandler USD);
  • The Kidney Trust – Performed over 178 Screenings for early kidney disease detection;
  • United Healthcare (UHC) provided diabetes screening (A1-C testing) thru their DCPA program;
  • Delta Dental provided information on dental hygiene, maintenance and coverage;
  • VSP (Vision Service Plan) provided information on proper vision care and coverage;
  • Walgreens – Flu vaccines;
  • Abundant Health Chiropractic provided stress relief exercises and instruction on proper posture and alignment;
  • Cholesterol Checks;
  • Blood Pressure checks;
  • B-12 Shots;
  • Solis Women’s Health, provided informatin on breast cancer screenings;
  • Sarabelle the Tooth Fairy from Delta Dental Foundation appeared to stress good dental hygiene;
  • The Dairy Council;
  • Mobile On-site Mammography Unit (MOM);
  • Visiting Angels;
  • The Trust, which provides information on workers’ compensation issues;
  • Dental One provided information on dental coverage’
  • The Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS) was on hand to answer questions for those nearing the transition from the workforce to retirement;
  • Yummy Food provided nutritional advice on healthy eating;
  • Lifestyle Chiropractic provided information on proper back, spine and muscle care; and
  • The Office of Tobacco and Chronic Disease provided information on health risks from unhealthy lifestyles.

A computer lab was available for attendees to take the UHC Health Risk Assessment.   This handy and confidential tool provides people with the opportunity to identify areas for improvement in their health and living choices and to remind them of any screenings or tests that they are due to receive.

A variety of classes during the event included; food and nutrition, healthy relationships, reducing stress, Zumba, Yoga, financial planning, and retirement planning.  Keynote speakers included UHC’s Cheyenne Autumn, a wellness expert who spoke about “The Value of Laughter.”

Cheyenne Autumn


Dr. Michelle May presented “Mindful Eating”.   Dr. May is the author of “Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat How to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle.‘  You can learn more at www.AmIHungry.com and download Chapter 1 of her book free at: www.AmIHungry.com/eat-what-you-love-book.shtml.

Dr. Michelle May

Chandler USD Food Service demonstrated how to build your own parfait yogurt bar, as well as provided wheat pizza, turkey burgers, a variety of soups, muffins, fruits, salad bar, coffee and water.  Their team of trained nutritionists showed which foods employees can eat that are satisfying, tasty, and yet healthier than regular choices that are often made.

Darlene Kracht, Account Manager at VSEBT, said, “Once again CUSD has demonstrated their commitment to the health and wellness of their employees.  This commitment has certainly paid dividends in lower health care costs over time, and in healthier, happier employees.”

Darlene Kracht, Account Manager, VSEBT



BASIC offers FREE Healthcare Reform and COBRA Webinar Updates

BASIC is a company that does outstanding work in managing your COBRA notifications, premiums, FMLA and keeping up with the very latest in health care laws and regulations.  I was lucky enough in the past to employ Linda Wurzelbacher, President,  BASIC Western USA, Inc., in the past as a vendor and she did an outstanding job.  They work with a number of local governments in Arizona and throughout the nation, including the purchasing cooperative agreements through Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) run by Andrea Billings and Tom Boone.

Here is a recent email they sent out, offering free webinars.  I would highly encourage you to avail yourself of this opportunity to receive information at no costs to you.  Pardon the poor formatting from re-posting the email.

Free Educational Webinars
Healthcare Reform and COBRA
HR solutions should be simple.
Keep it BASIC.

BASIC helps you stay abreast of the ever-evolving laws in part through our monthly webinars. They are free to everyone.


Feel free to invite your colleagues!


Healthcare Reform for 2013, 2014 and 2015

Tuesday, October 23
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM EDT
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM CDT
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM Arizona

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now.

We will examine the changes resulting from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Larry will cover the requirements taking effect this year as well as in 2013, 2014 and 2015.



Presented by Larry Grudzien, JD, LLM

Lawrence (Larry) Grudzien, JD, LLM is an attorney practicing exclusively in the field of employee benefits. He has experience in dealing with qualified plans, health and welfare, fringe benefits and executive compensation areas. He has more than 26 years experience in employee benefit law.




COBRA Webinar

Tuesday, November 13

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM CST

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Arizona


Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now.


We will cover a wide range of COBRA topics including: what is COBRA, what is gross misconduct, initial notification, qualified benefits, employer termination of COBRA, election notice, and more.


Presented by Larry Grudzien, JD, LLM

Lawrence (Larry) Grudzien, JD, LLM is an attorney practicing exclusively in the field of employee benefits. He has experience in dealing with qualified plans, health and welfare, fringe benefits and executive compensation areas. He has more than 26 years experience in employee benefit law.




HR Solutions Come
Full Circle


Learn more about BASIC’s Services.


Call 888-602-2742 and your local representative will help customize your HR solutions.


Or you can request a proposal right now.

BASIC’s integrated HR solutions come full-circle for employers nationwide. Consistently recognized as an Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Private Company, our expertise allows you to control costs, manage risks, and improve staff focus and effectiveness. BASIC’s suite of solutions offered independently or as a platform of services, paired with our experienced staff, ensures consistency and flexibility. HR solutions should be simple. Keep it BASIC.



Contact BASIC
Your Regional Sales Director will help customize your HR and Payroll solutions.

888 602 2742 or
Request a proposal










BASIC, 9246 Portage Industrial Drive,

Portage, MI 49204

Tel: 1 888 602 2742


Enjoyment of life ‘key to living longer’

reposted from BBC News

Enjoyment of life ‘key to living longer’

By Hannah Richardson BBC News education and family reporter

Older cyclists
The study suggested those who were physically active remained healthy longer.
Those who enjoy life the most are three times more likely to live a little longer than those who enjoy it the least, a study of ageing suggests.

University College London researchers’ study of 10,000 English people also suggested future disability and poor health could be predicted by the state of a person’s mind.

The team said the effects were “large” and independent of age, sex and wealth.

Happiness could be used to spot people at risk of ill health, they added.

Researchers tracked the psychological well-being of 10,000 people aged 50 to 100 over nine years as part of the university’s English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.

They interviewed the participants three times between 2002 and 2011, assessing them using three measures of psychological well-being and testing their enjoyment of life with a series of questions.

They found that those recorded as having the greatest enjoyment of life at first interview were more likely than other participants to still be alive nine or 10 years later.

‘Greater enjoyment’

“The difference between those who enjoyed life the most and those who enjoyed life the least was marked, with nearly three times more people dying in the lower than greater enjoyment group,” the study said.

Prof Andrew Steptoe, who led this part of the research, said: “What we have found is over a nine year period that about 20% of people will pass away during this time.

“What we found is that out of those people in the highest third of people with the most enjoyment, 9.9% died. Of people in the lowest third of enjoyment 28.8% of them died.

“This was the case even when factors such as age were taken into account, we still find this protective effect of enjoyment.”

‘Socially isolated’

Prof Steptoe said this could be happening because the kind of people who are happy are the kind who take care of themselves and are therefore quite healthy.

He also suggested that people of a happy disposition were less stressed.

And he also suggested that environmental factors, such as strong social networks, could be at play.

The report also found that one in six people in England aged over 50 were socially isolated.

The Elsa research team, which comprises researchers from UCL, NatCen Social Research, the University of Manchester, and the Institute for Fiscal Studies, found the wealthier over-50s were half as likely to become socially isolated than the least wealthy.